Changes to Housing Benefit for Landlords from April 2011

From April 2011 the Government is making changes to Housing Benefit, for tenants renting from a landlord in the private sector.

What is changing?

From April 2011 the Government is making changes to Housing Benefit, for tenants renting from landlords in the private sector.

Will this affect me? 

Yes, if you are a private landlord renting a property to a private tenant who is in receipt of Housing Benefit and has made their claim for their current address on or after 7 April 2008

What are the changes?

  • The maximum £15 weekly Housing Benefit excess that some tenants can get now will end. This means that tenants will not be able to get more money from Housing Benefit than the amount due in rent.
  • There will be maximum rate caps, so that Local Housing Allowance weekly rates in any area cannot be more than:

Maximum rate caps for local houisng allowance

£250 for a one bedroom property per week

£290 for a two bedroom property per week

£340 for a three bedroom property per week

£400 for a four bedroom property per week

These caps will probably only affect properties in London.

  • There will no longer be a five bedroom Local Housing Allowance rate. The maximum level is for a four bedroom property.
  • The Government will reduce Local Housing Allowance rates to a lower amount, so that about 3 in 10 properties for rent in the area should be affordable to people on Housing Benefit. At the moment about 5 in 10 properties in the area are affordable to people on Housing Benefit – view 30th percentile rates
  • HB claimants with a disability will be able to claim for an extra bedroom if they need a carer to stay overnight – please contact your tenant if you think that they may qualify

How will this affect me?

It is possible that the amount of Housing Benefit your tenant gets to pay rent could go down. If Housing Benefit is paid directly to you, the amount you receive could go down. If you are letting to a person claiming Housing Benefit, you need to consider these changes before you renew or make a new tenancy agreement.

If your tenant qualifies for an additional room because they have a disability and they need a carer to stay overnight, then their benefit may increase.

When will this affect me?

  • If it is a new claim to Housing Benefit or change of address, the changes will take effect from 1 April 2011.
  • If your tenant is already claiming Housing Benefit, they will normally have more time before their rate changes. If their circumstances don’t change, they will have nine months based on their current rate after the local authority next assesses Housing Benefit on or after 1 April 2011 e.g. if the next assessment is due in June 2011, the changes will not take effect until March 2012. But your tenant cannot get more money in Housing Benefit than they pay in rent after we assess their claim. 
  • The changes may affect tenants sooner if:
  1. They are getting Housing Benefit and move home.
  2. Their household changes, such as someone leaves or comes to live with them
  3. They qualify for an additional room for a carer

 

When will their claim next be assessed?

This can normally be worked out from the date the original claim for Housing Benefit was made, or the tenancy start date if the claim was made from the outset e.g. if the claim for Housing Benefit was first made on 5 September 2010 the yearly review date will be 5 September 2011. 

For anyone affected, the Council will write again to both tenants and landlords in advance of any changes to advise you of the new amount payable.

In the meantime, if there have been any changes which may affect Housing Benefit, you must inform the Council straight away.

Where to go for more information

  • You can get more information at www.direct.gov.uk Directgov provides information on public service in one place including up to date information on the Housing Benefit changes.
  • Or by accessing the Council’s website www.rctcbc.gov.uk or ringing the Customer Services contact centre on 01433 681081 or ringing the Customer Services contact centre on 01433 681081
  • The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is an executive agency of HM Revenue & Customs and holds information on local housing allowance, fair rents & council tax and many other related topics website http://www.voa.gov.uk
  • The Citizens Advice serviceprovides a wide range of advice. To find your local Citizens Advice Bureau, look in the phone book or Yellow Pages, or visit their website at www.citizensadvice.org.uk

Shelter offers confidential housing, welfare benefits and debt advice through a network of advice services; freephone Housing Advice Helpline on 0808 800 4444 8am-8pm Monday-Friday and 8am-5pm Saturday-Sunday and online at  www.shelter.org.uk Shelter offers confidential housing, welfare benefits and debt advice through a network of advice services; freephone Housing Advice Helpline on 0808 800 4444 8am-8pm Monday-Friday and 8am-5pm Saturday-Sunday and online at  www.shelter.org.uk